Boston MA Smoke Detector Rules And Smoke Detector Types

Single family and 2-family residences sold in Boston MA must be inspected by the local fire department to confirm the operation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke certificate is provided for the closing. It is essential for home owners to understand the Boston MA smoke detector rules and smoke detector types in order to comply (regardless of whether they are selling their home).

Smoke Detector Types

There are two primary kinds of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Each has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to recognizing smoke versus flames.

Ionization Technology

Ionization smoke detectors have two electrodes and current that connects them. Smoke interrupts this current which causes the alarm to sound. This kind of smoke detector is better at detecting flames but cannot differentiate between smoke and steam. Thus, they are likely to issue false alarms if installed near kitchens and bathrooms.

Photoelectric Technology

Photoelectric smoke detectors use a beam of light. The presence of smoke or fire will interrupt the beam and initiate the alarm. It is very accurate at recognizing smoldering fire and is not as sensitive to false alarms from cooking smoke or shower steam.

Boston MA Smoke Detector Rules

Boston MA regulations determine the kinds and placement of smoke detectors in residential buildings. The rules vary depending on when a property was built or significantly altered. Below is an overview of the placement of smoke detectors within a residence.

Placement before 1975 1975 to Aug. 27, 1997 after Aug. 27, 1997 on or after Jan. 1, 2008 on or after Feb. 4, 2011
Power Supply Hardwired
Battery Backup
Battery Backup
Battery Backup
Every Finished Level Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Base of Every Stairwell Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outside Every Sleeping Area Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Min. 1 for Every 1,200 sf Finished Space per Floor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inside All Bedrooms Yes Yes Yes
In Basement Yes
Base of Every Stairway to an Occupied Floor Yes
Within 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric Photoelectric
Outside of 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths Both Ionization & Photoelectric Photoelectric OR Dual Photoelectric

Additional Information

More details on Boston MA smoke detector rules may be found at Please note that the above information is only an summary, must not be interpreted as legal advice and may change at any time. Additionally, local communities may maintain stricter laws beyond the state ones. Contact your local fire department to request full and accurate laws for your home.

About Scott Beard

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